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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

The Battle For The Fifth Ward Continues As Calloway Makes One Last Play

The longtime activist isn't letting the city council seat go without a fight.

Ald. Leslie Hairston and WIlliam Calloway ran for 5th Ward alderman.
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HYDE PARK — The votes may be in, but the fight still isn’t over between activist William Calloway and Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th).

In an unprecedented move, Calloway will appear in court Friday morning to request a restraining order in hopes of preventing Hairston from being sworn in Monday.

The latest maneuver comes two weeks after a court-ordered recount declared Hairston the victor by 176 votes. Calloway was granted a discovery recount April 18, citing election code violations. He and his attorney, Frank Avila, maintain that several precincts in the ward failed to produce certificate of voting results, which is required by the Illinois Election Code. 

Calloway’s camp believes they have enough proof to strip Hairston of her power, making her ineligible to join the new term next week. But, according to Chicago Board of Elections spokesperson Jim Allen, that plan may backfire.

“The law states that if the winner isn’t seated before the new term, then the current alderman continues until another is appointed, or a special election is called,” Allen said. “So she would still retain the seat.”

Calloway campaign adviser Gabriel Piemonte said a judge will decide.

“The fact is that you have four precincts that didn’t turn in anything, or if they did, the documents were blank,” Piemonte said. “The law says that results have to be produced, but it doesn’t state whether or not there are consequences for not doing so.”

When reached for comment, Hairston issued a statement via spokeswoman Delmarie Cobb:

“We’re operating based on what the CBE said, ‘Leslie Hairston will be sworn in with the rest of the city officials on May 20.’ Calloway has every right to continue seeking redress if he believes something wrong took place on Election Day, but at some point he starts to look like a sore loser whose only intention is to force Leslie Hairston to incur additional legal fees and cost taxpayers more money.”